Located in Taxco, Santa Prisca is the focal point in this very religious town. Built in 1751, the church took seven years to complete. It is so grand that all roads in Taxco’s zocalo (main marketplace area) begin and end at the church. While the outside of the building is massive, the inside can be described as extremely ornate. Funding of the church’s construction was provided by one of Mexico’s most famous silver entrepreneurs, Don José Borda.
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While Italy had Michelangelo visually bring to life its famed Sistine Chapel, Mexicans had their own famous building designer, Jose Churriguera. He had been deceased for many years before the Santa Prisca was constructed; however, his work was still the highly coveted design standard for later Mexican architects. In following his traditional designs, the Santa Prisca’s outside appearance is surrounded by statuesque saints, exhibits many spiral columns, and presents numerous flowing arches. The church is constructed to represent a Spanish Baroque style; combining the best of Mexican and European creative elements.
Inside, the Santa Prisca could be confused with other similarly-aged European churches. A German pipe organ is the audio focal point of the church. Dating from 1751, it is original to the building and made its cross-continental voyage, along with several still-present side altars, via ocean transport and mule. Mixing religious figures and church patrons, the church is decorated with several portraits including Father Manuel Borda (the church’s first priest), Pope Benedict X (the pope at the time) and Jose Borda (Manuel’s brother who financed the construction).
Immediately outside of the church is the Street of Death (Calle de Muerte). During the church’s seven year construction period, many workers perished. Needing a place to bury them and honor their service to the church, they were laid to rest in this former cemetery area. The perished workers were also honored by the skeletal representation on the church’s exterior, as death was a tragic but celebrated event. Santa Prisca Mexico: The Family-Owned Church Represents Life and Death!